MUMBAI: Beauty queen of the yesteryears, Rekha — or Rekha Jee, as her Bollywood contemporaries often call her — has been honoured with the prestigious Yash Chopra Memorial Award for her services to the industry.
A regular at most major award functions, Rekha often serves as the presenter for the Best Actor or Actress category. This time, however, it was her turn to take the trophy. “I have always maintained that it is more important for me to give, than to receive,” she said, as part of her acceptance speech. I guess I gave my share of the only thing I know, that is love.”
The 61-year-old actor also spoke about the late producer and director, Yash Chopra, whom the award commemorates. “Talking about Yash Jee would be like, chota muh aur badi baat. What can I say about him?” quipped Rekha. “I’d like to state that he taught me how to love. Not just by watching his films did I understand ‘Oh, this is love;’ that there is beauty and a tender emotion. There is an invisible feeling which everyone definitely feels — Yash Jee taught me that.”
According to Rekha, it was being in Chopra’s company that first inspired her to become a poet. “I have written one sheyr. He inspired and taught me this,” shared Rekha, before reciting a couplet she had penned, along with a dialogue written by Gulzar for one of her movies. “I take this award as not just an award or validation. But I think it is something of a reminder to say that the curtains have not fallen yet. The best is still to come in the future,” she claimed. “It will definitely be a reminder for me to do better than the best, better than ever before. This is not my last chapter but the best chapter, yet to begin.” After her speech, someone in the audience tried to imitate Yash Jee’s characteristic ‘Hmm’ but Rekha set the record straight, saying that no one could replicate it the way he did.
The Yash Chopra Memorial Award has been instituted by the TSR Foundation of prominent Indian industrialist and politician, T Subbarami Reddy. It was established in memory of its namesake, the beloved Bollywood producer and director, who passed away in 2012, and aims to honour a distinguished, senior personality from the industry for their outstanding contribution over the years. The award offers a gold medal, along with a cash prize of INR 1 million. Precious recepients include Lata Mangeshkar and megastar Amitabh Bachchan. The latter has worked alongside Rekha in Chopra’s timeless hit, Silsila.
The jury constituted to shortlist this year’s awardees comprised of Pamela Chopra, Simi Garewal, Boney Kapoor, Jayaprada, Pinki Reddy and the chairman, Reddy himself. It was unanimously decided that the third award would go to Rekha, par-excellence. The celebrity guests present at the award ceremony included Ranveer Singh, David Dhawan, Poonam Dhillon, Jaya Prada, Adnan Sami, Mohan Babu and Gulshan Grover, amongst many others.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2016.